Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Robotic Process Automation (RPA), two of the most exciting technologies of modern times, are on the verge of merging. While RPA aims to streamline the mundane, repetitive everyday tasks, AI adds the capability to think smart. As the modern-day healthcare industry is being catapulted by the technological wave, integrating AI with RPA makes perfect sense.
Technological innovation has hit the healthcare industry hard and experts across the globe have been looking for ways to revolutionize the entire sector. From gathering patients’ data to directing appropriate care, healthcare professionals need to cater to all. With the rise in the total number of patients, the monitoring and tracking of patient's data has become tedious.
As the technological wave surfaced all over the sector, and experts looked for alternatives, RPA emerged as the ideal option. Medical professionals, experts, and clinical staff spend a great deal of time performing repetitive, manual tasks. And these tasks affect overall quality of work. Embedding the technology of RPA automates all sorts of operational and administrative tasks.
Back in 2013, medical experts saw the need to transform their existing infrastructure into something far more sophisticated and streamlined. This was backed by the need to cut the costs of overall healthcare facilities and enhance efficiency.
Of all the available choices, professionals considered RPA to be the best choice and began blending process automation into the healthcare sector. RPA involves automating day-to-day manual tasks. From aligning back up work to eliminating the need for paperwork, RPA in the healthcare industry has been successful in reducing the total cost of operations while leveraging overall efficiency.
The interest in RPA has increased tremendously. Automating labor intensive, repetitive and mundane tasks reduces the overall time spent, increases efficiency, and reduces operational costs. Based on an internal IBM analysis, healthcare automation via RPA is seen to offer a return on investment (ROI) that fluctuates between 30 and 50 percent.
But RPA does have its shortcomings. What happens when RPA-enabled processes require judgments or real-time analysis? What can be done when the system fails to capture structured information on the front end?
The volume of patients is growing exponentially. According to a report published in 2016 by the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2020, those 65+ in age will outnumber children under five. And by 2050, the percentage of people aged 65 and over will be more than twice the percentage of young children. Because of this new trend, it’s important for professionals to once again revamp their architecture and revise healthcare facilities to better serve the patient.
Witnessing the rise of AI in areas of data recognition and pattern analysis, followed by decision making, nearly every industry is moving toward the adoption of AI while addressing the existing challenges.
The AI domain has witnessed immense growth given that the overall market is expected to rise to US $16.06 billion by 2022 at a CAGR of 62.9% over six years. With each passing day, the technology grows with a stronger industry influence.
The merger of AI and RPA is expected to change healthcare, allowing patients to live independently using an AI-based system connected with RPA. For example:
Emma is 72 years old, living alone in her Boston home. She has had multiple surgeries and is medicated for high blood pressure and panic attacks. One evening while on a walk, she suddenly falls and collapses. Though she is still conscious, she cannot walk. Who's going to help her or contact her family and friends?
Now imagine Emma has a sensor-based wearable on her wrist. The band is AI-driven, capable of tracking her health information, sending notifications and alerts to an emergency contact and connected to a 911 number if necessary.
As Emma collapses, the device detects unusual behavior, then immediately sends an alert to the medical emergency staff, also sharing her location. An emergency alarm or notification is sent to her designated family member or friend. An app connected to her device pops up with a virtual assistant (RPA) with whom she can connect. This assistant asks her several questions, learning about her current status and suggests some measures. If Emma is still having difficulties, the assistant can alert her to a healthcare assistant who can temporarily assist her.
Owing to the rise in technological transformations, the healthcare industry is under pressure to map the needs of patients while adhering to the requirements of the digital revolution. Today patients are no longer passive onlookers but rather active participants who undertake the initiative to care for themselves.
Now that automation has integrated itself with AI, the healthcare sector is at the center of change. Artificial Intelligence owns the potential to redesign the healthcare industry while focusing on the needs of optimizing business operations, rendering efficient care to patients.
A major segment where healthcare professionals need to embed AI is with the patients’ engagement with the healthcare system. The greater the engagement, the better the care rendered by the healthcare system. Patients have a tremendous interest in connecting directly to the healthcare experts so as to stay informed on their everyday health status and to make decisions. The higher the patient’s engagement in the process, the greater the possibility of the patients taking preventive measures and reducing the risk of being hospitalized.
AI-enabled HCPs are the best way to reduce the time taken to reach out to patients and serve them as soon as possible. Through AI:
Addressing the limitations of RPA-enabled healthcare systems, integrating AI-driven apps and RPA-backed technology could emerge as the best solutions in the healthcare industry. This alignment could redesign the entire healthcare infrastructure, aligning needs with technology to provide optimized care to patients.